Contact: Rachel Barnhart: National Media Strategist / (413) 333-5656


  • Connecticut dropped off the list by expanding absentee ballot access.
  • Five states are not acting to keep voters safe in the pandemic and beyond.
  • RepresentUs is waging a bipartisan national campaign to make Vote by Mail options available in all 50 states.
  • Our interactive tool provides the latest updates on which states offer Vote by Mail options and connects voters to an absentee ballot.

FLORENCE, MASS. (May 21, 2020): After Connecticut’s governor issued an executive order allowing all voters to obtain an absentee ballot for the state’s primary election, we are down to the “Failing Five” states that have so far refused to expand Vote by Mail options in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Connecticut, which requires an excuse to vote by mail, is expanding vote by mail on the condition a vaccine is not widely available by the August 11 primary.

While some states are quickly expanding secure vote-by-mail options, the “Failing Five” states have yet to take action, forcing voters to choose between their health and exercising the fundamental right to vote.

Here are the “Failing Five:”






“Connecticut’s Governor did the right thing. This is not a partisan issue. We have to protect the right of everyone to vote safely and securely,” said Josh Silver, Co-Founder and Director of RepresentUs. 

A federal court ordered Texas to expand absentee ballots to everyone, but the matter is still being litigated.

We recognize all states may need more funding to expand Vote by Mail. Congress has so far allocated $400 million to expand vote-by-mail options and early voting, and improve safety measures, but should add more funding to protect civic participation in the midst of a crisis.

“We are running out of time to expand absentee ballot access for primaries and the general election. States can act to protect voters,” said Silver. 

Since RepresentUs first called out states lagging on expanding Vote by Mail, five states — New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina, Connecticut, and Kentucky — have joined Alabama, Delaware, Indiana, and West Virginia in making temporary exceptions to increase vote-by-mail options due to COVID. 

Two other states had already broadened absentee voting for some elections below the statewide level: Arkansas and Massachusetts. Virginia made their temporary reforms permanent by enacting legislation that will allow any registered voter to request an absentee ballot.

Vote by Mail is the default in five states: Colorado, Washington, Utah, Hawaii, and Oregon. In the others, most voters have to request an absentee ballot. And in 16 states, voters must provide an excuse to get an absentee ballot. Check out our frequently updated interactive map and tool that connects voters to an absentee ballot in their state.

RepresentUs volunteers have made more than 7,500 calls to state and federal officials to ask for safe Vote by Mail options. They also texted more than 49,000 voters. The RepresentUs petition calling for Vote by Mail has more than 27,000 signatures nationwide.

Silver is available for phone or video interviews about RepresentUs’ campaign to expand Vote by Mail.


RepresentUs is the nation’s largest grassroots anti-corruption campaign, bringing together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass anti-corruption laws in cities and states to stop political bribery, end secret money, and fix our broken elections.